30 September 2011

Ah . . . the smell of newly cut wood!

I know my Friday post is usually Can't stop looking at . . . but today I really want to share my new and wonderful bannisters with you!

If you remember, this is what they looked like originally - yuk! Horrid and unsafe.

This is what they look like now.

Drum roll please . . . ta da!

Up the steps from the spare room to our bedroom.

From the top of the stairs into our bedroom.

There will be a half round newel post cap going on top of the half-newel that is fixed to the wall - the one the carpenter had was slightly too big, so he's coming back on Tuesday to fit one for us.

Crouching in Torin's doorway - looking down the landing.

I love love love it! The work took the carpenter two days to complete and he's done a brilliant job. Can you see where there are carved chamfered bits out of the newel posts? He carved them himself! He wanted the whole thing to be as sturdy and safe as possible so he used thick pieces of timber and as you can see from the second picture, rather than just fixing the new posts on top of the landing, he actually carved chunks out of them and positioned them so they are drilled into the side of the landing. He also screwed down a load of the floorboards, so hopefully once the new carpet is laid, there'll be no more waking the baby as we try and creep out of her room once she's asleep (and born of course!).

Now I've just got the quite big job of painting all of that lovely fresh wood - I need to treat the knots, prime the wood, undercoat it and then gloss it. However, I don't think I'll mind doing it really - it's just such a pleasure to get up in the morning and look at wooden bannisters rather than the monstrosity that was there before!

27 September 2011

Superior Interiors?

I was quite excited earlier when I spotted that a new interior make-over programme was beginning today. It was called "Superior Interiors" and the premise was that Kelly Hoppen was travelling the country, working with families in order to improve a room in their houses. Tonight's episode featured a family who wanted to convert their garage into a 'chill-out' family room. I cringed at the beginning when Vince, the guy who owned the house expressed his love of the mafia and all things Italian American - his dream was to have a bar area in part of the room. I really don't ever understand people's desires to have bars in their houses? Do you? Do you have one? Am I missing something?

Anyway, the finished room was actually very tasteful. Well, what else would you really expect from Kelly Hoppen?! She managed to give them the bar area that the family so desired by 'diluting' it into a moveable console with the aim of storing it against the wall and then pulling it out into the room when the family were entertaining. She also gave the nod to the mafia theme by adding red accessories to an otherwise monochrome scheme, and incorporated black and white pictures of Little Italy that had been taken by the father.

All images from here.

I'll definitely try and catch next week's show, although I'll probably record it so I can whiz through the slower parts of the show. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but for me the most interesting part of a show like this is to see what the room is like before work begins, how the design scheme came together, and then what the room looks like when it's been completed. I also like to be able to fast-forward through the three long ad breaks that come with an hour long programme on Channel 5!

I'm also very excited tonight, as we've finally managed to book a carpenter who's going to begin work on transforming the bannisters and handrail on our landing tomorrow! 

26 September 2011

A not so ugly bug.

I received a strangely shaped parcel over the weekend. It was a tube shape and I had no idea what it was or where it had come from until I remembered that my sister had said she was going to try and post my birthday present to me. I was then ingtrigued - I assumed it would be a piece of paper of some kind (ie. a print or poster), but I just couldn't work out what it would be. Do you do that - try to guess what a present is before you open it? I'm a bit notorious for it - I used to shake all my stocking presents before opening them at Christmas - used to drive my younger brother and sister nuts as they just wanted to rip into theirs but had to wait for me first!

Anyway, family history aside - I opened the present and found some promotional material from Ugly Bug Cartoons. I really then just couldn't figure what would possibly be in the tube!

When I pulled out the A4 sheet, I laughed out loud - this is what was inside:

My brother and sister had clubbed together and commissioned this wonderful A4 cartoon of Torin for me! Once I had got over the initial surprise, and looked at everything in the picture, I then began to cry - it was such a sweet thing to do for me, and I love it. It's a great drawing of Torin, surrounded by all of his favourite things: his toy vacuum cleaner, bubbles, Cadbury's buttons, and his watering can and spade.

I've put it on the picture shelves in our living room, and temporarily framed it like this:

It will probably stay in this frame, which was taking up space in our spare room, but I need to get a proper mount for it - at the moment I've just placed the picture of Torin over the one that was originally in the frame. I'm sure I'll give it more thought soon, but for now I just wanted to get it behind glass in order to protect it.

Torin absolutely loves it - he points to it pretty much every time he goes into the living room, and really enjoyed pointing out all of his possessions when I first opened it.

I'm so lucky to have a gift like this that I can cherish for years to come, thank you Jo and Adam.

21 September 2011

The top shelf is up (at last)!

A while ago, I mentioned that I had this little mishap in my dining room while trying to arrange the books on our alcove shelves according to colour:

I'd forgotten that some of the books on the upper shelves were actually supporting the weight of the shelves above them, and therefore, when I tried to replace the books in their new order, the weight of them sent the top shelf crashing down onto the shelf below, pulling out the wall plugs as it fell. So, I was left with a shelf missing, and several large holes in the wall, right where I needed the shelf to be put back up.

This weekend, my Dad tackled the job for me (I keep being told I'm not allowed to go up ladders!) and used some Polyfilla putty to fill the holes, which dried like concrete. Once this was dry, he made quick work of putting up the top shelf (thanks Dad, again!). Then my sister-in-law put the books back up on the shelves in strict colour-coded order (thanks Bec!).

This is how the area looks now - I'm so pleased with it. I really think I'll never put books on a shelf again unless they're arranged by colour as it helps to make everything look so much neater!

Apologies again for the light in this picture - have been potty training Torin all day and haven't been able to take my eyes off him in order to take a photo during the daylight!

I'm so pleased with how well these rooms are coming together, and I'm so grateful for all the help that we had from our family at the weekend.

20 September 2011

My new kitchen shelf.

In this, one of my first posts, I mentioned that I was thinking of buying one of these shelves to go in our kitchen. I'd seen it featured here in Anna's city apartment, and thought it would be an excellent way of making use of dead space in our kitchen, and freeing up the very limited space in our cupboards at the same time.

My parents bought me the shelf as part of my birthday present this year, and this weekend it finally went up on the wall (thanks Dad!).

Sorry for the poor light in this photo - I had to take it in the evening using the flash!

I'm really pleased with how well it matches the kitchen cupboards, and it really is useful. Not only has it meant we've now got more space in our cupboards and on the worktops, it also makes useful ingredients very accessible.

14 September 2011

My new desk wall.

So, as promised, a little peek at some of the painting I managed to do at the weekend. It really is a little peek I'm afraid, as the rest of the room is just too messy for me to bring myself to photograph. The main reason for this is because I'm planning on painting the woodwork this weekend, and so I haven't put everything back in it's right place just yet, and the ladder and my painting tools are still in the room too.

I'm so pleased with the colour, and it's such a pleasure to sit at this desk and look at a clean, fresh wall that is actually finished! If you remember, it looked like this for a LONG time!

I promise that when the two rooms are completely finished, I'll have a big tidy up and then post some pictures on here. Hopefully this weekend will really help make that happen sooner!

13 September 2011

Paint for the shed.

I know I said that I'd post some pictures of my recent feats in painting, but I've left it too late today and now the light's gone. It'd be a bit pointless if I tried to show you what the rooms look like in artificial light, so I'll wait until tomorrow if that's ok with you?

What I can show you though, is the paint that I've decided to use on our shed. This is how our shed currently looks:

And, the colour I'm going to paint it is Coastal Mist from the Cuprinol Shades collection:

Image from here (sorry about the fuzziness of the picture, but you get the idea).

I really like the sagey greens too, but we don't currently have much colour in our garden (other than green), so I think the blue would work well. What do you think of the colour?

Do you have a shed? If so, have you painted it?

12 September 2011

Out with the old (and unsafe) . . .

I had quite a productive weekend  - what about you? I managed to get all of the emulsion in the living room and dining room finished - remember the last bit was taking ages because it involved taking 5 shelves and loads of books off the wall first? Anyway, I can now tick that off my to-do list (will post some pictures tomorrow) and this weekend I'll hopefully be able to tackle the woodwork.

Another item on that list is to get a carpenter to change the bannister on our landing. I'm currently in the process of getting quotes for this job (which is why I've been taking photos of it), so hopefully it'll be done before too long. The reason we need to change what we have is because it looks like this:

This is the view down the landing, standing in Torin's doorway and looking at the spare / junk room which is going to become Torin's room soon.

From the little landing outside the spare room, looking up into our bedroom. 

At the top of the stairs, looking down into the hall and across into our bedroom.

Who on earth thought that this was a suitable handrail for a staircase? It has to go - it looks awful, and it's so wobbly. Plus. Torin could quite easily fit between the swirls at the bottom if he wanted - scary!

It's not going to be a cheap job, but honestly, it'll be worth it for peace of mind. We're going to change it for just a normal painted wooden one with newel posts and spindles - probably something like this (but painted) so I also think it'll look so so much better too! What do you think?

Image from here.

7 September 2011

More beautiful bed linen?

Is there ever such a thing as having too much beautiful bed linen? I had to remind myself very sternly that I really don't need anything new when I was in the bed linen aisle of HomeSense today, as it was bargain city!

Firstly, I found two of these Aura Flight pillow cases, which were so beautiful and would have gone so well in our bedroom:

Image from here.

I can't remember where I first saw this picture a few months ago, but I thought the whole concept of butterflies fluttering across the duvet cover was lovely then . . . it's even nicer in the flesh and at £3.99 each (instead of £12.99), they were a bargain too. I really had to fight myself to put them back on the shelf, only letting them grace my trolley for a few minutes. I really don't need any more bed linen - I love my Orla Kiely sets, and they'll hopefully last for many years yet!

I also spied several Clarissa Hulse sets for £19.99, so if you like her stuff, I'd hot foot it down to your nearest HomeSense or TK Maxx asap!

6 September 2011

Napoli is stuck fast.

I've managed to knock another item off my living room to-do list - I've finally managed to get around to fixing my Napoli canvas to the wall above the console table.

The canvas was a birthday present from our lovely friends Andy and Anna last year and it has been resting on the console table ever since. This is mainly due to the fact that I knew that I was going to be decorating the room before too long, and also the fact that there's a blooming great steel girder running down the centre of that part of the wall - not very convenient for drilling holes to hang pictures!

Anyway, the picture is now up, and I'm very pleased with how it looks, and how well it has stuck to the wall. In the end I used sticky pads from Sellotape to fix it to the wall - they're meant to be removable, but we'll see!

The only slight thing is that I think I may have put the picture up a little too high. It's at the kind of height it would be if it was hanging from a picture rail, but I think in order for it to look really good with the things on the console table, it needs to hang a little lower - I think the bottom of it should hang lower than the top of the red vase - what do you think?

Rather than try to move the picture and risk ripping the lining paper on the wall (that I have recently painted remember), I think that I'll just put up a smaller picture in the space underneath the canvas. This should balance the area a little better I think.

5 September 2011

A few little bed additions.

We spent the bank holiday weekend in Kent having a really lovely time seeing family and friends. Silly weather though - on the Sunday we got totally drenched while trying to have a picnic in a park, and managed to spend the whole of the following day sitting on a beach in glorious sunshine. 

As usual, my mum couldn't resist spoiling Torin (and me) and bought us a new duvet cover for Torin's bed. I mentioned here that I hadn't found a duvet cover that I liked and that was reasonably priced, but we managed to find this one in BHS of all places.

I really like the classic look of the pale blue ticking, and he won't outgrow it for a while either. He still absolutely loves his bed - it makes getting him to sleep a lot easier! Since he's been sleeping in it, he has fallen out a couple of times, so I decided it would be a good idea to get a bed guard, as I don't want him to get into the habit of waking in the night again!

I decided on this painted white one by Baby Dan, as it is easily usable with a slatted bed base (I found that a lot were only really suitable for divans). 

I like the fact that I can remove it easily during the day and then slot it back into place once Torin is asleep.

You may have noticed that I've moved his bed around - it used to be along the window wall. I moved it because after I'd dismantled his cot (which you can just see under his bed), his room had a spare alcove, so I moved his wardrobe into it. The bed then looked better around this way, and it's a bonus that he's now no longer sleeping against an outside wall.

What do you think? Any sources for lovely bedding that's not too childish?
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